Pretty flowers and painted benches: #100HappyDaysChallenge Post #11

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Today’s temperature promised to top over 90 degrees, so my this morning my daughter and I went for an early walk to take photos and just get some exercise. The middle size town I live in has a small downtown area which recently has been revitalized. There has been a revamping of many of the turn of the century buildings while adding a rose garden theme to the downtown area. It really has been wonderful to see the changes to once was what a decrepit area. The shops are decorated with a multitude of flowers, especially wonderfully smelling roses! There are benches to sit on and a couple cute coffee shops along with a chocolate store.YUM! We took pictures of some of the flowers and pretty benches to share.

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Tsum Tsum Mania! #100HappyDaysChallenge #10

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I am not a collector, never really have been. Quite the opposite, I have been trying to purge our home of unused “stuff”. It isn’t that cluttered, but there are a lot of things we really don’t need. However, there are certain adorable little stuffed animals/bean bags made by Disney known as Tsum Tsums, which my daughter loves to collect, and will definitely not part with. They are characters from various Disney movies, such as Cinderella, Big Hero Six and Little Mermaid. Disney also created Mickey and Minnie Mouse Tsum Tsums along with other classic Disney characters. My favorite has to be Winnie to Pooh; who wouldn’t love little innocent honey-eating Pooh? My daughter loves the Big Hero 6 collection, which is understandable, since we have the movie and have watched in numerous times (BayMax in his armor is adorable). Telling stories and making up adventures with the Tsum Tsums are a fun way for us to interact, and often she will open up to me if something is troubling her. As a mom and an adult, I worry that somewhere I have lost the ability to just imagine and “play”. I suppose that is part of growing up. Anyway, my daughter and I had quite the imaginative time of play the other day with her Tsum Tsum collection when I was sick and off of work. The Tsum Tsums fought crimes and went shopping in a little store she imagined. It turned out to be a very happy day, especially since I was feeling better by the end of the day. I remembered what it was like to just play! I think it should count as a “Happy Days Challenge” day.

P.S. The next Tsum Tsum series comes out in a few weeks, and although I really don’t want to add to our clutter, it is something my daughter loves to spend her money on. I guess I will have to de-clutter something else!

100HappyDaysChallenge post #9 Great quotes to inspire and uplift

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Image source thedailymeditation.com

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” – Dalai Lama XIV

Seeing the world in a new light

Seeing the world in a new light

 “Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi

“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.”– Will Rogers

“Look at the sparrows; they do not know what they will do in the next moment. Let us literally live from moment to moment.”– Mahatma Gandhi

“Live each day as if your life had just begun.”– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Rumi

Image source: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140414-americas-best-selling-poet

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” -Rumi

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” -Rumi

“Knock, And He’ll open the door
Vanish, And He’ll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He’ll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He’ll turn you into everything.”
― Rumi

Cliff Swallows nest in the strangest places…..

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During one of our trips to northwestern Oklahoma I noticed hundreds of strange looking nests on the underside of the bridges. When I got home, I did a bit of research and I discovered that they belonged to the cliff swallow. I had never seen such a nest before, and they are indeed strange looking. They are made mostly of mud and tend to sit at a 90 degree angle under many of the state’s bridges.

According to the Cornell School of Ornithology, “Busy flocks of Cliff Swallows often swarm around bridges and overpasses in summer, offering passers-by a chance to admire avian architecture and family life at once. Clusters of their intricate mud nests cling to vertical walls, and when a Cliff Swallow is home you can see its bright forehead glowing from the dim entrance”.

Photo source US Forest Service

According to Oklahoma Birds and Butterflies.com, the cliff swallows live in Oklahoma during the summer, while the rest of the year they live in South America. They live in colonies with nests made from mud pellets that are usually located under bridges or the eaves of buildings. The colonies which my family and I saw numbered several hundred birds. It was quite a sight!

Renaissance Fair Trip Number 2! #100HappyDays Challenge Post #8

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According to the Enyclopedia Britannica, the time period of the Renaissance was a time of rebirth immediately following the time period of the Middle Ages. During this time, the discovery and exploration of continents occurred, along with the decline of the feudal system and the growth of commerce. Paper, printing, the mariner’s compass and gunpowder were also invented. It was also a time of the revival of classical learning and wisdom after a long period of cultural decline. Source: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/497731/Renaissance.

The Renaissance Fair in Muskogee is a annual event where life during the Renaissance is re-enacted, with many of the attendees wearing period garb. There is also a joust and a large variety of shows to attend. This past weekend was our second time to attend this year, and we cheered during the joust, dined with other patrons in period garb, watched a live chess game and swordplay. We danced with the “cast” during the Maypole dance until we were so tired! My grandson had a great time also as he got to ride on some ponies and pet the animals which were in the farm area. The children’s zone has a lot of free activities for kids. We also got to see a man dressed as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings (not exactly Renaissance dress, but very well done!), meet the Grim Reaper (scary), the Bishop, the Queen and King, many knights, lords and ladies. Everyone you meet in costume dress who is part of the “cast”  keeps in character during the fair. You can identify them by their name tags. The strangest thing were the mud men (I am not sure how that fits into the Renaissance period)! I highly recommend this event for history buffs or just anyone who would like to step into another time period.

When Good Enough Becomes Never Enough

When Good Enough Becomes Never Enough. Wonderful thoughts on looking straight ahead and keeping focused. I would also add that Keeping up with the Jones’ never works anyway, just makes you feel unhappy with what you already have. As a single mom, it is easy to compare myself to the people I work with who have spouses and have been working as an RN longer than I have. They have a retirement account, nice houses and cars, while I am a recent graduate and struggling to make ends meet. Thank you for the reminder to quit comparing myself to others!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droeshout_portrait

I have to admit I have never read A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I was very excited to see a performance by a local drama group last week. The children performing the play were between 7 and 14 years old, and they did a terrific job, especially considering that the play was done in the original old English. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written by William Shakespeare, a poet, actor and playwright who lived from 1564 (the recorded date of his baptism, as no birth records have been found) to 1616. During his lifetime he wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and two narrative poems. Some of his most famous are Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare was also a successful businessman whose home was said to be the second largest in Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare lived at a time when the black plague caused many theaters to close. It was at this time that he wrote many of his sonnets. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Shakespeare wrote close to a tenth of the most quoted lines ever written or spoken in English. He also invented many words which are still commonly used in the English language today such as cold-blooded, dishearten, eventful, eyeball, belonging and addiction!

A couple of quotes from Shakespeare for you to enjoy:

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Brain Boost: Mediterranean Diet May Fend Off Memory Loss

I work with a lot of patients who have memory loss, and sometimes I wonder if I am heading that direction too! Thanks for the informative article.

Cooking with Kathy Man

If you’ve ever walked out of the house without your phone and wallet — as I did yesterday — you might have wondered: Am I starting to lose it?

Even if you’re too young for any real concern about dementia, this kind of precursor to a “senior moment” can be rattling.

But a new study suggests we’re not powerless when it comes to keeping our mental acuity and memory intact.

Researchers have documented that a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fish, whole grains, along with daily servings of nuts and olive oil can help fend off age-related cognitive decline.

The study, which appears in JAMA Internal Medicine, compared the brain health of groups of older people in Spain (in their 60s and 70s) who were enrolled in a randomized clinical trial.

One group was assigned to eat a Mediterranean diet, plus either extra daily servings of extra-virgin olive oil (about…

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Watching “Hoarding, Buried Alive”

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Image source: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/amazed-by-grace/2014/11/11/the-hoarder-next-door/

I have been watching YouTube videos of the series “Hoarding, Buried Alive”. It showed up as one of my suggested videos, not sure why. I found it a bit disturbing, but it caught my attention, especially since one of the stories hit close to home. When my daughter was in her teens, she struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and one of the manifestations was that she hoarded items in her room. She had piles of old toys, clothes and collectible items all over the floor. If I even tried to move one thing, she would know, and freak out. It was something she did overcome, but it was a struggle. Now she is a healthy young lady in her older 20’s and a wonderful mom. The only thing left of the old OCD behavior is her need for cleanliness, which is ironic since at one point her room was a mess! The strange thing about OCD is that the obsessions can change over time. In my daughter’s case, she has a need to clean her home a lot. Well, that is better than the opposite. The videos also made me want to clean and get rid of more stuff. I don’t have a whole lot, I really downsized a year ago due to financial reasons, but it feels good to clear out the mess and give to Goodwill.

This is a great site to visit to find out more information: http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/hoarding-basics.

#100HappyDaysChallenge Number 8: A Rainy Morning and a Poem to Share

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A nurse’s work is never done, or so it seems. I worked an extra shift this week and a 16 hour day yesterday. I worked from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm. It is really exhausting! I was already there and they needed help, so I stayed an extra 4 hours. Of course, by the time I got home and to bed it was after 1 am. This morning, I was able to sleep in since it was raining and very cloudy. It was good I was able to rest since my 49 year old body was very angry at me for working so much!

While on the thought of rain, here is a poem called Summer Shower by Emily Dickinson, one of my favorite poets.

A drop fell on the apple tree,
Another on the roof;
A half a dozen kissed the eaves,
And made the gables laugh.

A few went out to help the brook,
That went to help the sea.
Myself conjectured, Were they pearls,
What necklaces could be!

The dust replaced in hoisted roads,
The birds jocoser sung;
The sunshine threw his hat away,
The orchards spangles hung.

The breezes brought dejected lutes,
And bathed them in the glee;
The East put out a single flag,
And signed the fete away.